More Than Architecture
Delivering architecture in Dubai since 1976, Brewer Smith Brewer Group has developed and expanded to become an award-winning, multi-disciplinary company with offices in locations across the globe. Here, RLI speaks with Andrew Bereza, Group Partner at BSBG to discuss what’s new and what lays in wait.
Established as an architectural firm in the UAE; Brewer Smith Brewer Group was founded upon the three pillars of architecture, engineering and interior design. The company now has studios in Dubai, Ho Chi Minh and London and its principles embrace a sustainable and technological approach to design and delivery, adopting the latest advancements in building technology and techniques to offer unique and innovative solutions.
“As an international practice, coming from Dubai and entering the UK market for the first time, we couldn’t be happier with the way this past 12 months have worked out,” explains Andrew Bereza, Group Partner at BSBG. “We are an established name in Dubai, where we’ve worked to deliver projects with Foster + Partners and Zaha Hadid for instance, and I’m sure in time we will reach the same level in London.”
The company has certainly started on the front foot in the UK, after being engaged by London + Regional Hotels to work on delivering two prestigious and challenging hotel refurbishments at the former Green Park Hilton and the Radisson Portman Hotel. The latter of these will become the second Nobu Hotel in London. The new high-end office space in Holborn and the talented team assembled in it is the most important investment the group has made in the last 12 months, according to Bereza. “Our most important investment will always be in our people, and the team we’ve put together here is one that will stand us in good stead moving forward.” Recently completed projects for BSBG include the 304- room Aloft City Centre Deira hotel in Dubai, which opened in early 2019.
Next was the completion of the design and delivery of a 92,000sq m expansion to The Dubai Mall, named the Zabeel expansion and they completed the 348- room five-star JA Lake View Hotel. This month the business is due to complete the handover of Festival Plaza, for which BSBG is the design architect and lead consultant taking the project through to completion. During the next 12 months BSBG expect to see strong progress on its two London hotel projects, as well as the Foster + Partners-designed Dorchester Hotel and Residences and the prestigious project The Island, both of which they are working on in a lead consultant capacity in Dubai.
BSBG maintain and nurture the strong relationships they have by always showing complete commitment to projects, staff and clients, and they never walk away from something that is perceived as ‘too difficult’, giving confidence and assurance to clients who are looking for long-term partners. The Group is very much a relationship-focused business and they pride themselves on the amount of long-standing relationships they have with their clients, some of which stretch back more than 20 years. Bereza believes this speaks well of the trust placed in them to consistently deliver the highest level of value and efficiency in architecture.
“Architecture is a more advanced, more technical animal with more reliance on technology than at any point previously. We have a reputation for international BIM leadership, which comes from the investment we have placed into training and adopting new software over the last decade,” states Bereza. By remaining as a privately-owned business, BSBG, despite its size, can drive business in a way that portrays a true entrepreneurial spirit.
Each of the partners still work on projects, and this will always be the way, enabling clients to speak to informed members of senior management at all times. After the opening of its office in London, the Group now has offices in three continents. Aside from London, they operate a studio in Ho Chi Minh in Asia, where there is huge ongoing investment in top end hotel and retail developments, targeted at really pushing the tourism sector in countries like Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore. Meanwhile the Middle East continues to be exciting for the company, particularly Saudi Arabia and the reforms there which have had a huge impact on leisure and retail projects.
“Whether acting as the design or executive architect, we add value at all stages of the project cycle. We are a true lead consultant in the fact that we take ownership and we drive projects forward. I would call us an A-Z architectural practice, with a multi-disciplinary depth of talent that enables us to work proactively on solving problems and delivering top-class solutions,” explains Bereza. “We are very focused on capitalising on the success of last year, and to remain as a reputed architect that clients with projects in London really should be speaking to – whether that’s in a design or lead consultant capacity.”